College in India’s Karnataka Suspends 23 Female Students Over Protest for Wearing Hijabs
© AP Photo / Aijaz RahiAn Indian Muslim student wearing school uniform and hijab listens to fellow students wearing burqas after they were denied entry into the campus of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial college in Udupi, Karnataka state, India, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022
© AP Photo / Aijaz Rahi
A hijab row broke out in the Indian state of Karnataka in December last year after the Government PU College in the state's Udupi district barred girls wearing headscarves from entering the college.
A college in the Indian state of Karnataka suspended 23 female students who had staged a protest demanding that they be allowed to wear hijabs inside their classroom, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker and College Development Committee (CDC) chairman Sanjeeva Matandoor told the media on Tuesday.
"The students staged a demonstration last week and were suspended on Monday," Matandoor said.
According to media reports, last week the girls came to the college in Puttur Taluk of Dakshina Kannada district of the state wearing hijabs and protested, demanding permission to wear their headscarves.
The CDC met on Monday and decided to suspend them. The panel earlier suspended seven other female students for coming to the college wearing hijabs.
Earlier this week, six Muslim students at a pre-university college in the Dakshina Kannada district of the state were suspended for wearing hijabs on campus. The college administration said that the girls violated the dress code despite repeated warnings.
In another incident, 12 students at Mangaluru University College in Mangalore were also sent home after they were not allowed to enter class wearing hijabs.
A controversy over hijabs erupted in Karnataka last year in December after Muslim girls were not allowed entry into classrooms wearing hijabs. This led to a huge protest by Muslim students which turned violent, forcing the state government to declare holidays in schools and colleges.
The state government also issued an order in February stating that students attending pre-university colleges across the state must wear the uniforms prescribed by the college management.
Petitions seeking permission to wear hijabs in colleges were filed by a few students of the Government PU College for Girls. They argued in the petition that wearing their hijabs is an "essential practise" of Islam.
However, the Karnataka High Court in March ruled that the hijab was not an essential religious garment, noting that where there was a prescribed uniform and all students must abide by it.